Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster

Keeping the Faith - Stay Inside Your Own Hula-Hoop

ronniemcbrayer300 maroonKENTUCKY (8/25/13) - Here is an ironclad prescription for personal misery: Attempt to keep everything, every person, every detail, and every moving part of your life, family, job, health, or schedule in precise working order as you would have it, without modification. Demand total compliance without flexibility, adjustment, or concession and you can be assured of never having a minute of peace for the rest of your life.

Understandably, it is good to have a place for everything and everything in its place. But things don’t stay in place. That’s the nature of life, and that is why there is no peace in trying to master others or other things. There is nowhere to get off the hamster wheel; there’s no place to stop and say, “Mission Accomplished!”

So if we can’t learn to live with some level of acceptance of the chaotic reality around us, then life becomes a constant exercise in finding only those things, people, and situations that will comply with our will – and everything else will be winnowed away. Such an approach to living reduces life to a tiny space, space not much bigger than a coffin, I would say.

For the sake of easing our anxiety (mistakenly thinking that control will equate with peace), we risk driving away, alienating, and otherwise distancing ourselves from some of life and love’s greatest gifts and experiences. Obviously, peace must be accomplished some other way.

In the New Testament both Jesus and the Apostle Paul forbid Christians from worrying or being anxious. Neither Paul nor Jesus take a utopian view of worry, as in “don’t ever worry about anything under any conditions.” The focus is actually on self-obsession. It is a fidgeting anxiety created within us when things aren’t going our way, when things feel out of place, and we can’t control the circumstances around us.

This is a self-manufactured anxiety, created by our efforts to fix things, manage people, and create situations that match our unyielding standards. This is a kind of worry produced by overreaching. This is why every great spiritual tradition speaks of letting go, denying self, surrendering, and detaching. For when we outdo and outwit our capabilities, we are left with uneasiness, not contentment, the very opposite of what we seek.

This is vividly illustrated with a description I recently heard, a description new to me, but one I’m going to sear into my memory banks and no doubt pass on regularly. It’s originally from Jean McLendon, a long-time therapist in North Carolina, but a phrase now used in 12-step work, organizational management, and family counseling. I’d like to apply it to all facets of life – especially spirituality. The phrase is: “Stay inside your own hula-hoop.”

McLendon suggests that we are all working through life with a hula-hoop; round and round it goes, representing our life’s labor. But we are certain to let it fall to the ground when we attempt to leave our space and hula-hoop for someone else’s.

We see their ring slip off the hips and fall to the ground. We want to fix it, so we go intervene. Someone else is hula-hooping far too fast, so we go to slow them down. Another person has her hoop up dangling around her head – completely unacceptable – so we attempt to put it in its proper place.

What happens? McLendon says, “You can't hula someone else's hoop without messing up your own efforts. You can observe, advise, cheer, and offer support, but as soon as you try to do it for someone else, you get into trouble yourself.”

This is much more than “minding our own business,” though that is a helpful, albeit rarely followed piece of advice in its own right. This is actually a healthier, far more peaceful way to live. After all, peace is not accomplished by the proper arrangement of our circumstances, as if we could impose our personal will on the people and things in our orbit. Peace is a path we follow, a discipline we practice, and a restful space we maintain – inside our own hula-hoop.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.
 

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

In Other News...

Man Charged with Theft After KSP Investigation

OWENSBORO, Ky. (9/20/14) ― An Owensboro man was arrested after a theft investigation led Kentucky State Police located… Read More

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

September 19, 2014 4236

Madisonville Man Among Three Arrested for…

in Top Stories by Muhlenberg Sheriff Curtis McGehee
September 17, 2014 3683

Two Arrested for Meth After Traffic Stop

in Top Stories by Alex Piper
September 17, 2014 3327

Wanted Man Leads Troopers on Chase…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
September 20, 2014 2891

Large Cache of Drugs, Cash, Gun Seized;…

in Top Stories by MCSO PIO Alex Piper
September 18, 2014 2765

Hopkins County Grand Jury Indictments

in News by Karen McKnight

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

September 17, 2014 3327

Wanted Man Leads Troopers on Chase…

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke
September 19, 2014 2651

Five Injured in Two-Vehicle Collision at…

in Top Stories by MPD Officer Russell Nichols
September 17, 2014 2047

Three Injured in Two-Vehicle Accident

in Top Stories by Kyle Pharris
September 18, 2014 1833

Manitou Man Charged with DUI

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 18, 2014 1738

Vehicle Strikes CSX Train Cars at Crossing

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke

Most Read Stories from Owensboro

September 20, 2014 871

Man Charged with Theft After KSP…

in Top Stories by Alexis McGee
September 19, 2014 801

STREET CLOSINGS FOR MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22

in Top Stories by Abby Shelton
September 19, 2014 760

Police Searching for Hit-And-Run Driver

in Top Stories by Jennifer Smith, DCSO
September 18, 2014 623

Owensboro's Nathan Morris Has Worldwide…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
September 18, 2014 457

9-1-1 Phone Lines

in Top Stories by Michael Hathaway

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

September 17, 2014 3683

Two Arrested for Meth After Traffic Stop

in Top Stories by Alex Piper
September 20, 2014 2891

Large Cache of Drugs, Cash, Gun Seized;…

in Top Stories by MCSO PIO Alex Piper
September 17, 2014 1745

Muhlenberg Job Corps Support is 'Written…

in Top Stories by Karen Robinson
September 20, 2014 1266

Paradise NRA Banquet Promises Food, Fun,…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 03social 04social 22social 21social 06